Friday, 12 June 2009

Hamachi Geekness

I was bathed in geekness the other day when I successfully shared my CD-ROM drive across the Internet to solve a little problem…

I was connected to an SBS server doing some application maintenance when the always annoying message ‘CD Required’ popped up. If I was a bit more organised I’d have a copy of the CDs backed up on the local hard drive, but alas I am not.  I didn’t want to drive out to site to insert a CD and my usual contact there was also on holiday.  I had the CDs I needed in our office, so I thought there must be a way to share my local CD-ROM drive with the server.  A quick Google brought up nothing, so I was about to admit defeat and plan a trip to site when I remembered Hamachi.

For those of you who aren’t aware of the product, it’s a small piece of software that will map a VPN between two places without opening any ports. It does this by using a third party to establish the VPN, but after this all data is only sent between the two parties at either end.  The software has the blessing of security guru Steve Gibson, so I’m more than happy to use it on a client site.

In this instance I fired up Hamachi on my laptop and on the server and established a tunnel. After sharing out my CD-ROM drive on my Vista laptop I mapped to it over the tunnel.  In the application I was modifying I pointed it to the newly mapped drive and lo and behold it grabbed the files it needed off the CD! Application updated, job done.

Behold, I am a geek!

Sirona now Microsoft Licensing Specialists (Lite)

My business partner and I attended a MS bootcamp on Licensing yesterday, hosted by Ingram Micro with a trainer from Microsoft.  It was an impressive set up at the Manchester Airport Radisson hotel and a great spread thrown in for lunch.  Great to see a distributor putting on events in the north and makes me more inclined to move my business away from C2K to Ingram.

The MLSS Lite accreditation is made up of two sections – products and licensing. The ‘Lite’ name certainly rang true and as a techy who is very familiar with Microsoft’s product line there wasn’t anything mind blowing on that side, but my business partner got more out of it.  The licensing side re-enforced a lot of what I’ve learnt but also threw up a few surprises, one being another OEM drawback.  I always knew that if you upgraded a CPU or mobo under an OEM OS license that license was then invalid. However, what I learnt yesterday was that if a CPU or mobo fails outside warranty, then that also invalidates the OEM license…  All the more reason to get at least 3 years warranty when dealing with OEM and it re-enforces the 3 year lifespan of a PC.

After lunch we were all able to sit the two exams and then get them marked while we waited. I’m very pleased to say Sirona now has two licensing specialists and we’ll now look to get it mentioned in our marketing literature.

The next step is to think about doing the higher level courses and exams, but I’m not sure of the relevance to our sector.  We’re generally dealing with 5 to 35 users and therefore only a very small area of licensing is applicable.  I’m hesitant to invest more time into the higher level accreditations as understandably they don’t just concentrate on our market.  Maybe the powers that be will revisit this in the future and create an accreditation linked directly to SBSC, but until then I’ll just make do with my ‘Lite’.